TACOMA, Wash. -- Days away from her 70th birthday and one month at her new job, Pauline R. is finding the biggest reason to celebrate is from her new-found self-esteem.
“Everybody says I do not look my age and I’m glad,” she said with a laugh.
Pauline is one of the first to re-enter the workforce through a strategic partnership between the Salvation Army in Tacoma, WA, and new social enterprise Valeo Vocation.
Through her work she’s helping customers at the Salvation Army and helping herself get back on her feet.
Pauline had been staying with friends or living in her car for years. Her Social Security Income and babysitting jobs weren’t enough to make ends meet. Because she was homeless and because of her age, Pauline says she felt judged and dismissed by potential employers.
After months on a waiting list, Pauline was admitted to the City of Tacoma’s stability site in the summer of 2018. Once there she was connected with Valeo Vocation CEO Sherri Jensen. Pauline was soon working several hours per day at the Salvation Army, making new connections for future work opportunities, and finding her confidence growing every day.
“Going from a point where I’m sleeping in my car to now has brought a lot of self esteem out,” she said.
Pauline says in just her first month of work she’s finally starting to get ahead and is saving for permanent housing.
“I’ve been excited for a while,” she said. “Since I have worked here I have not been short of cash. My goal is to get into housing, that’s number one. Then just to be able to live the rest of my life being able to get what I need instead of working from month to month to month.”
Even though she loves her job at Salvation Army, Pauline has her eyes on her future. She has an associates degree in criminal law, and hopes to put it to use again working in corrections.
For now, she’s going to continue her spotless attendance which she proudly touts: “I’ve never missed a day and never been late. (I’ll be here) however long they need me.”
If you would like to help Valeo Vocation continue to support hard working people like Pauline get back on their feet, you can donate or get involved here.
Valeo Vocation is a new nonprofit social enterprise in Tacoma, WA focused on helping those experiencing homelessness obtain stable employment and permanent housing. At Valeo Vocation, our name defines our values. Valeo is Latin, meaning strong, well, healthy, having worth. Vocation is employment for which a person is suited and trained, and which is regarded as worthy and requiring dedication.
Valeo Vocation strives to see our clients, customers and community be strong and healthy. We believe that every person has intrinsic value, and a special purpose for which they are uniquely suited. When a person is working in their purpose, they are inherently strong, and contributing not only to their individual wellbeing, but making their entire community a better place.
Valeo Vocation is a unique social enterprise which reduces homelessness in our communities through an innovative and sustainable model which provides up to 80% of gross revenue to operate. The rest is through generous donations from community members who also want to make a difference. If you'd like to donate or get your business involved click here.
Valeo Vocation is a Washington Nonprofit Corporation, under fiscal sponsorship of Cardo Community, a Section 501c3 nonprofit. Your contribution may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. Donors are encouraged to consult with their tax advisor or the IRS to determine whether a contribution is deductible.